Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
From Hands’ Give Me Rest to Everything In Slow Motion, Shane Ochsner has been at the helm of some of my favorite records for the last 5 years. So I had high expectations for Laid Low.
Everything In Slow Motion’s Red and Phoenix were natural progressions for Ochsner from Hand’s Give Me Rest and Laid Low feels like the next progressive step forward. Listening to Shane on the As The Story Grows podcast talk about writing this record on acoustic guitar and building the songs from there gives the soundscape more depth. Oschner’s guitar tones and riffs have always been fantastic and the way the sounds build and explode on Laid Low is nothing short of amazing.
The opening riff on Coma that kicks off the ep is straight nasty. Miles McPherson played drums on the record and the extra tom hits on the verse give the groove a killer feel. The drums sound fantastic on the record. Even on the album’s opener, you can tell that this is Shane’s best guitar work to date. The piano on the track is a perfect addition and the extended build into the huge final chorus will send chills down your spine.
Bad Seasons feels more like a track from Phoenix in spirit. But Ochsner’s guitar riffs and effects give the song an added dimension. Layer upon layer of guitar riff creates this fantastic bed for the track and it makes it impactful moving when parts come and go. McPherson’s groove on the chorus is super interesting and unique, but it keeps it in the pocket. You feel like the song is getting huge but the drums stay steady throughout. I Am Laid Low takes you by surprise. It’s an absolutely beautiful song. Shane keeps the guitar pretty simple while the bass and drums provide more complicated rhythms and grooves for your listening pleasure.But it’s when the song gets heavy and Ochsner lets out this growl that I don’t remember ever hearing him do that my jaw dropped! He said on As The Story Grows that there was no screaming on this record. That’s not completely true. It might not be the most complex song on the record, but it’s intensity is unmatched!
You hear so many bands nowadays trying to pull of the ambient hardcore ballad. Runaway is the song they all want to write. The balance between the lightness on the verse and the heaviness of the chorus is perfect. And the breakdown is so unexpected which leads into a couple of half-time choruses that feel like they deteriorate until the song ends. Cappella ends the record on a beautiful, simple note.
Laid Low is perfect and I wish there were more songs! Ochsner has created another masterpiece and I will be wearing this record out! 5 out of 5 Stars!